Saturday, January 26, 2008

Please Send Tuna and Prozac

Sorry for the long delay in posting, life has been a little hectic with moving to my permanent site and getting settled in. But things are going well overall, and after a fresh coat of paint, some curtains and a bit of furniture, my little mud house is starting to feel like a home. Tin has about 3,000 people, and the CSPS (heath clinic) serves several other local villages as well. The main health problems are Malaria and malnutrition, though I'll also be dealing with HIV/AIDS education and other subjects. Most days I spend a couple hours at the CSPS observing consultations, assisting with vaccinations and baby weighings, and just generally getting a feel for it. After that, my time is divided between reading, playing with the kids that live near me (language barriers aren't much of a problem when it comes to 5 year olds), and attempting to speak French/Siamou/Jula, the three languages spoken in my village. Notice english is definitely not on the list....

People are very friendly and welcoming, but the entire experience is an emotional roller-coaster to a degree I never thought possible. Older volunteers warned us during training, but there was really no way to understand until actually getting to site and being faced with it. There are moments when I'm elated to be here, with such a strong sense of purpose and opportunity, and the next I'm tempted to hibernate in my house for a week or would kill for a good meal and some conversation in English. I'm about an hour's bike ride from the nearest town with food and shops, so I go there a couple times a week to go to the marche and meet up with the other volunteers in the region for a bit.
The most exciting/embarassing incident lately took place two weeks ago at the CSPS, where I was observing a young girl having a procedure done. She had no anesthesia, and had to be restrained while they cut open her highly infected hand, right to the bone. In between the screaming and medical talk, I realized I was going to pass out, and then promptly did so, falling off my stool and hitting the ground hard. Not exactly the impression I was tring to make, but I guess thats life....and the bruises from the fall have now disappeared, so life goes on. And I did provide some momentary entertainment and relief for the little girl, to look at the upside of things!

Here we have a picture of one of the two rooms of my house, with the cheerful new yellow paint and my new tables!
A veiw of my house from the outside.

I share my courtyard with these cows in their pen, chickens and goats which roam free, and 7 other people, so having company is not an issue! The big pile in the left corner is bisap, one of the main crops in village.

Lori, me, and Lindsay in Bobo on New Year's. They are the two other first year volunteers in my region so we spend a lot of time together and generally keep eachother sane.

Thank you so much to everyone who sent me holiday cards, letters, and packages, it made the holiday season wonderful to know that so many people are thinking of me. Final news is that I have yet another NEW ADDRESS! this is the last change, I promise!

Morgan Cole

BP 08

Orodara, Burkina Faso

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